Biden could limit nicotine levels so cigarettes are LESS addictive

Biden administration plans to limit nicotine levels so that cigarettes are LESS addictive

  • Biden administration is considering capping nicotine levels in cigarettes
  • The rumors sent tobacco stocks tumbling during trading on Monday
  • Officials are also considering a ban on menthol cigarettes
  • Nicotine cap could be introduced at the same time as menthol ban is introduced  

The Biden administration is considering requiring tobacco companies to reduce the nicotine levels of cigarettes sold in the U.S. to make them less addictive.

Public officials are rapidly approaching a deadline on which they need to decide whether menthol cigarettes will be banned for sale, and a cap on nicotine levels could be announced at the same time. 

A decision will need to be made by April 29.

Menthol cigarettes have long been considered a gateway product for younger smokers. The 2009 Tobacco Control Act banned candy, fruit and spice flavorings in cigarettes because of their potential appeal to children, but did not deal with menthol. 

The Biden administration is considering capping nicotine levels in cigarettes in the hope of making them less addictive to smokers

Officials are also considering a ban on menthol cigarettes which is often seen as a ‘gateway’ product for younger smokers to get into the habit

The administration is now weighing whether to adjust nicotine levels at the same time as a menthol ban or introduce it as a separate policy, according to the Wall Street Journal.  

Although nicotine doesn’t cause cancer, it does make smoking more addictive. 

Smoking has been linked to 480,000 deaths in the US annually. 

The idea behind reducing levels of nicotine would be to make the cigarettes less addictive and perhaps encourage smokers to quit or move to other safer products. 

‘Any action that the FDA takes must be based on science and evidence and must consider the real-world consequences of such actions, including the growth of an illicit market and the impact on hundreds of thousands of jobs from the farm to local stores across the country,’ Altria spokesperson George Parman told CNBC .

 Stocks in tobacco plummeted on the news Monday.

British American Tobacco shares closed down 2 percent on Monday

Philip Morris International shares ended the day down more than 1 percent despite not selling cigarettes in the U.S.

Shares in Altria shares closed down more than 6 percent

‘Many consumers wrongly believe that a cigarette very low in nicotine content is lower in risk than traditional cigarettes, a misconception that poses a major hurdle in determining proposed rulemaking for low nicotine cigarettes,’ Reynolds American spokesperson Kaelan Hollon said.

 A spokeswoman for Reynolds American Inc. said that the data available on nicotine reduction is inconclusive and said ‘there are better tools for improving public health’, according to the Wall Street Journal.

 However, research has shown that smokers are more likely to quit cigarettes or switch to e-cigarettes or gums when nicotine is reduced, the Journal reported.

 Nicotine can be reduced in cigarettes by either genetically modifying tobacco plants or removing nicotine from the tobacco leaf during manufacturing.

Menthol is a compound that is found in mint plants and has been added to cigarettes since the 1920s.  

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